Tuesday, March 13, 2018

By Birthday- In Closing

        I've now been alive for 40 years. That's 21 years longer than my expected expiration date. I think some people would have made it shorter. To them, I say, "I see your point, but here I stand." I was always a fighter, even when I didn't think so. When thrown under water, infants instinctively hold their breath and survive. But today isn't about all of that and anything that happened then.

Today is about now.

        I think I've seen both sides of the mountain. At least the heights and depths God has allowed me. I stand. I stand both proud to a fault, and broken to extreme. But I stand here, not surviving, but thriving. I am full and happy and excited to start that climb over the next 40 years. I'm excited about my wife. I'm excited about my kids. I'm excited about my family: both blood and chosen. I'm excited about my friends. I think the rest are just details of life.... a means to an end of something else.

        I think the excitement of all of those people that matter are a reflection of a very present and able God. Those who are here, are because He put them here for a reason, and vice versa.

        The wife threw me a birthday party last week. A surprise. And what a surprise it was. I walked into a room expecting to see people that were there to celebrate a dear friend's birthday, but instead, I walked into bewilderment. Everyone shouted surprise and I didn't get it right away. I looked around the room and saw people that I love from all over. People from every corner and history of my life. People from church. People from my childhood. People from right now. People that have always been with me.

        We spent the night singing songs and talking and laughing and I wanted to cry the entire time. My heart was spilling over. Sometimes you forget how much you love people and how much they love you, until you see them show up for you with their arms open. I hugged my wife for what she had done. What she had done to so important to me, and she knew it...that's why she did it.

        I've been in darkness for a bit, sorting it all out. Making baby steps both backward and forward. I think I forgot that I am someone that still means something to someone. I thank my wife and the rest of you for the reminder that I am more than what I have thought of myself for the last several years.

But again, they always come back. My brothers gone.

        I think they always will and don't ever want them not to. Every happiness is a little bit empty. Nearing the end of the night, I hugged my sister as she was leaving for home hundreds of miles away. She started crying for the same void I was trying to hold at bay. There were two people that didn't show up. Two that didn't think ahead before they made decisions that there would be emptiness without them. We hugged tightly, then parted. I told myself as she walked away to keep it together. This isn't about who or what used to be. This is about now. And right now, most of my favorite living people were in one room to celebrate with me.

       My wife softened the blow of turning 30. She softened the harder blow of 40. So much in fact, that I got sick of it being my birthday week and wanted to hear nothing more of it.  She is perfect to me. I think that it should be a reminder that I am perfect to God.



Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, February 26, 2018

We Were Meant.

        I used to have so much to say. Now I'm silent. I am presently living my life the best way I can. There isn't a manual for living, so I'm working it out as I go. There is good and there is bad, but I've done well with filling my life with those that make me happy. I fill my life with positivity, and yet, what has always been inside me still lies underneath. It's waiting for me. My plan is to leave it standing alone altogether. Forever behind me.

Forever behind me.

        Isn't that the most difficult task? As much as you want to leave your dead things behind, they always seem to find themselves nipping at your heals. I don't think they are supposed to go away. In fact, I don't think life would be better for you if they did. I think the sunshine wouldn't mean much to you that way. I think that life is learning to live with the dead and move towards life...until you are a dead thing in another's life.

We were meant to live, and to smile, and to grieve, and to suffer, and to love.  Until we have a grip on all off those things, we cannot be whole.


Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I Choose to be Happy

        What is happiness to you? What does it mean to be happy? Is there a measurement for how you are doing in life? Is life like dieting? You make some good choices and some bad ones and hopefully happiness is ending the day with more good ones than bad? I wish I knew the answer to my questions. As for me, and hopefully my house, we are happy. I am happy. However, many simply are not. It's those people I wish I could give an answer to.

        Right now, I can only say:

1. Follow God. Even if He hasn't made Himself known to you in ages.
2. Marry the right person. He or she will save your life before their own. If you don't believe they were the right person, give them a chance to be.
3. Find a career you can tolerate. The saying that "If you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life" is only for the rich. Real people hate going to work. Find something you don't hate completely.
4. Always have something to look forward to. You will save your family if you risk debt to go on a family vacation. Go and laugh and soak up every moment.
5. Stop wasting time on people that hurt you. Instead invest your time into the people that love you, even if they annoy you. They will be the last ones standing with you.
6. Try to be nice to everyone: even the people that frustrate you. It hurts both of you to be mean. It benefits both of you to be nice.
7. It's so cliche, but slow down and try to enjoy moments. Sitting and watching a television show with your loved ones may seem trivial, but life is short, and one day when you are gone...they will remember.
8. Give people a chance. I've learned the hard way that you should never judge anyone by first impressions. Wait it out. I think you will find some really great friends this way; even though most will probably confirm your initial reaction.
9. Don't be jealous of anyone. We are all messed up in one way or another. If someone seems to be perfect or have figured it out...know that it's fake. No one has it figured out. NO ONE!
10. Lastly, don't keep secrets. The horrible truth is far less damaging than the horrible lie. At least you can still be trusted and respected. Without trust and respect, you really aren't anything special at all.

        So there is my completely flawed and incomplete list of things I've learned about being happy. Life isn't just for you, it's for everyone else around you as well. We are all connected. Remember that you effect the people you see every day; even if you aren't happy where you are.


Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Catch

        I dream about it a lot; my old life. At least the one I used to try and support my family with. It was my dream job that I never thought I wanted. At first, it wasn't a job at all. I did it because I loved it...I loved to help hurting kids. It became my livelihood and I still loved it. Until the end part. The end part is always the kicker. In movies, this part would be the catch. The part where it was always too good to be true and any hopes of perfection are lost. Everything becomes lost when you lose hope.

        The catch?

        I would love to blame it on others not caring about these kids. I would love to shift the blame to someone else. I try to do that a lot. The catch was that I couldn't do the job anymore, because I lost my heart for hurting people...because I was hurting. I had lost my faith in a God that wanted to heal. He could heal, but seemed to always choose not to.

He is God and He is good.

        But I stopped believing that He was a God that did miracles anymore. That's a rough place for me to be in. My own life has been a miracle. How does a person reconcile that? How do I see God lift my face out of the mud, even when I deserved to die, with the same eyes watching his brothers die miserably?

       So I left my perfect life and my dream job and became a nurse out of the desire to see people be cured with science instead. What I got was a lot more death. So much death that I had to find another nursing job with less death. What I learned is that people are going to die and no one is going to stop it. Some that I love died before they should have. That was always the catch.

        Everyone wants to be happy all of the time, and never feel the sorrow that makes happiness real. I was watching one of my favorite movies in bed the other day...a day that I chose to remain in bed half the day. Vanilla Sky came on, and the main theme was that happiness exists because of the bitter.

What a hard pill to swallow.

        So I am supposed to stomach the pain of losing so much to preserve this idea that this loss has created something pure and beautiful?

I look around. Here is my wife. Here are my children... happy and safe. Here are my friends... a list still growing. Here is my job...leading people to life and to death. Here am I... still breathing.

Still breathing.

        This journey has been anything but easy, and I'm guessing it was never supposed to be. But a thing that I've learned is that, It's equally as hard for the faithful as it is for the faithless. We all have to watch our friends and family die. We all have to feel powerless. We all have to weep and mourn and become something you never wanted to be.

None of us get out of this life unscathed.


Thanks for reading...Z